La Cortez provided the following operational update on the Company's Putumayo-4 block located in the Putumayo Basin in southwestern Colombia:
As previously disclosed, at the end of November 2010, the local community consultation process was suspended pending appoint of a new contractor to act on behalf of the Ministry of Interior. During July 2011, consultations were reinitiated, and significant progress has been made in the northern part of the block with two communities consulted to date. One agreement is ready for signature by the community and Petroleos del Norte S.A. (PetroNorte), operator of the Block; a second agreement is under discussion, with final approval currently expected within a month. Community consultations in the southern part of the block are proceeding more slowly, and while the negotiations continue in earnest, it has been agreed to focus all initial seismic activity in the northern area of the block in order to fulfill the commitments to the ANH (Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos).
Assuming completion of the community consultation process under the timeline indicated above, the near-term operational objective is to shoot 104.8 km of 2D seismic over the block during October 2011. The seismic acquisition is a contractual obligation of the parties under the terms of our agreement with the ANH. The results of the seismic acquisition program will allow PetroNorte and us to finalize the selection of the drilling location for the first exploration well to be drilled on the Putumayo-4 block.
Bid specification for the seismic acquisition is expected to be complete by the end of August 2011, awarded in September, and initiated in October 2011. We anticipate that we will have the seismic volume interpretation from the acquired seismic by early 2012. In addition, once the community consultations are finalized, we will commence work on the Environmental Impact Study, which is required to secure the environmental license. Subject to completion of permitting and civil works at the drill-site, we and PetroNorte anticipate spudding the exploratory well (which is a commitment obligation under the contract with the ANH) during the second quarter of 2012.
Andres Gutierrez, President and CEO of La Cortez, commented on the announcement, "We are very pleased to announce the community consultation process is underway once again, and eagerly anticipate the increased level of activity over the coming months. We remain very optimistic about the exploration potential of the Putumayo-4 block and are encouraged that our views are shared by others who have recently approached us regarding their potential interest in partnering with us on future exploration and development activity."
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